Donna Lyon is 80 years old – Culture

The fact that she doesn’t really care about her significant birthday has spread in the media a few days ago. Anyone who has had the pleasure of getting to know her better knows that Donna Lyon doesn’t like being the center of attention. This relates not only to its emphatic democratic outlook, but also to the fact that the position on the sidelines, that of the discreet observer, is more suited to the collection of material used by the crime writer who has an annual production in large quantities.

Being fairly compact, preferring subtle design and keeping a discreet manners, they always succeed at this trick at festive or public occasions: inconspicuously withdraw into a quiet area with a conversation partner of your choice, questioning them intently and doing so to observe the rest of what is happening – listener Main, creative in curiosity with Argus eyes.

Last but not least, Donna Lyon, who was born 80 years ago in the US state of New Jersey and now lives alternately in Zurich and in a village in Graubünden, owes her career as one of the most successful crime writers of our time. Technique. Then of course there is Venice, the city in which she spent the good three decades of her life and whose unique selling point was as a backdrop to murder cases long after Patricia Highsmith had already explored the terrain in 1967 with the coldness of the ice.

At that time, Venice was still a place where you could almost find regional peace

A little later, the traveler, teacher and occasional worker Leon Sirenissima visited for the first time and made stable friendships that led her to settle there around 1980, after having had some unpleasant experiences as an English lecturer in Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia.

As a reminder, Venice was then a place where you could find almost regional tranquility and lively social structures; The luxurious ambiance was an addition. The foolish sell-outs promoted by neoliberalism and digitization did not begin until much later. Nor would Donna Lyon be the same if she hadn’t realized that the global popularity of her books had also contributed to the hype that not only drove her devastating consequences, but thousands of the last Venetians to leave the city.

This was unexpected when, for a living, the anti-military gave literature lessons at the US Air Force base in Vicenza, and indulged her passion for opera in the evenings at the La Fenice Theatre. Their debut story is legendary: while resting in the artists’ dressing room, a useless star is so pampered that they start to think comically about their methods of murder.

Brunetti also appealed to the audience who read “appropriate” books.

Leon, who had grown up without television but with equal parts high literature and crime novels, wanted to experiment with the genre’s rules in practice for fun and invented her inspector Guido Brunetti, without realizing that this would become a lifelong affair. “Venetian Finale,” which first vanished in a drawer, then was presented by a friend and won a Japanese Suntory Prize and won instantly, was the prelude to a series that now includes 31 cases of cute, well-read and a family-minded morally demanding investigator, which has been particularly well received by women. . And what makes its creator especially happy, and also with an audience that reads “real” books.

By this you mean, for example, her literary beacons Charles Dickens, Henry James, and Jane Austen (for which she was going to get a Ph.D. the thesis was not about to finish, then still in paper form, fell victim to the flight from Iran caused by the revolution), and the categorical difference What she produces herself is very important to her.

Likewise, each of her books at least indirectly conveys a political message or is devoted to social grievances that produce or encourage the solution of crime. This means, on the one hand, that the material will never run out, and on the other hand, the end often remains open because the real culprits cannot be found.

The conflicting sides of nature are transferred to brunette

In recent years, environmental issues have been of increasing concern to her. She admits that despite her “genetically predisposed to happiness,” she tends to be bitter, even cynical, and pessimistic, and not just in that regard. The opposing sides of her nature are transferred to Brunetti, whose melancholy is often on the verge of turning into human hatred.

The real developments in Italy are putting his love and Donna Leon’s love for this country to the test more than ever. However, for her, who says she grew up “with absolutely no ambition”, there are ample reasons to go on unchecked: from the pure enjoyment of writing to the tangible income that allows her to sponsor her favorite Baroque orchestra “Il pomo d’oro” and other reasons. Of course, the only luxury she allowed herself without feeling guilty: traveling to all the important opera performances, especially when the music was by Handel.

The fact that German film adaptations of her crime novels ceased some time ago (although the ones that have already been filmed haunt the shows endlessly) is more comforting for her, because she was never happy about it: they were altered in plots, often made Adding extra black and diluted espresso from the original (which is more pronounced in English anyway) to a sweetened latte macchiato. Since the author has been stripped of any influence on the TV versions with the signing of the contract, this can’t be avoided — and with it the fact that Donna Lyon’s work is often judged more by the movies than by the books, which can be somewhat misleading.

So far, she has steadfastly refused the request to write her memoirs

Not to mention the false turns it lures to the public unable to distinguish between fact and fiction in Venice: recently, the real police of the real Questura were forced to put up a notice telling visitors in many languages ​​asking not to disturb them by continuing to work with questions about Comissario Brunetti and other Romanian staff. Donna Lyon wrote the lyrics herself, and claimed, with her signature blend of dry East Coast humor and innovation, that the investigation team was unfortunately currently on course on the mainland.

So far she has steadfastly resisted the suggestion of writing her memoirs – perhaps because she doesn’t find it too exciting to stick to the facts. Alternatively, a volume of short autobiographical stories was published in honor of the 80’s. In it you can learn a lot about her, but you should always keep in mind a grain of salt when it comes to creatively reshaping facts, as the author arbitrarily makes a distinction between “truth and true truth”. Lest we forget its motto: “The most mischief is done by people who think they know everything.”

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